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The Big Scary

Many of you probably already know that my foolish tail signed up for Ironman Lake Placid, which takes place in July.  And yes, that’s leaving Ironman Louisville still on the table for October.  And yes, I am fully aware of how dumb and crazy it is to do two Ironman races in one year. My mother already called me.

But I am so excited I can’t stand it.

I love having the Big Scary to train for–and when I had the opportunity to race Placid–I jumped on it once I cleared it with the Expert and the giant family calendar.  Of course, Louisville is the Big Scary too—but Placid is happening, in oh, about 150 days (who’s counting), so that makes it the Super Early Big Scary.

Lake Placid

Registering also put the Fear of God in me. Sometimes, I need that to motivate me.  Along with my recent “ah-ha” moment, demanding that I stop my own excuses.

Lake Placid (a/k/a IMLP) is probably the most comparable course in the U.S. to Ironman Coeur d’Alene (IMCDA)… and seeing how IMCDA was much like childbirth… I have not forgotten what that means.

The good news is that I have laser-like focus right now.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that I won’t be sitting in my closet with a vat of Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream and crying “Why oh why do I do this sport” at some point… but for now, my head is in a good place.  There’s lots of “green” squares in my TrainingPeaks account. Which I know gives my coach all sorts of joy as well.


One of my pals also taking on IMLP sent me a video of the run course… which I watched while I was on the trainer.  I got the same feeling I had the first time I watched the swim start at CDA video.

All excited… then nervous… then sick.

But the funny thing about triathlon… is that somehow, race day always arrives…and then you’re in the moment.  Taking a bite out of the race, one chomp at a time. Working on talking to yourself and saying “just keep moving forward” and “eat” and “breathe” and “you can do this… X miles to go.”


I love triathlon for the time it allows me in my own head. I like the hour or so during the week that I have in training, then the longer runs or rides on the weekend.

But race day–no matter the distance–is really special because it’s such a special conversation with yourself.

I love the painful you-should-be-going-faster talk during a Sprint distance.  Pedal harder. Faster! Go faster. Faster! Zone 5! Zone 5!  You have a 5k now! Run your 5k pace! I can’t run my 5k pace! I can’t breathe… I’m dying… I can’t breathe. 

I love the you-are-going-too-fast head discussion during an Olympic or International Distance race. No matter anyway you cut it, an Olympic is a long day at the races. I never know if I should be going faster… or slowing down. Usually, I forget just how much effort an Olympic distance takes, and I burn out and fade… You are burning your matches woman–you’ll never make it to the run at this pace.  And then on the run, FIVE MORE MILES at this pace? Holy hell beans!!


Then there’s the long suffering of a half Ironman. The half is a really, really long race. This race is never going to end. This race is never going to end. This race is never going to end. This race is never going to end. This race is never going to end. This race is never going to end. This race is never going to end. 

If the half Ironman is a really, really long race… then I am not sure what Ironman is.

It’s silly, really.  But I do know that Ironman is a really long conversation with yourself.  At the end of the race, I have worked out all of my problems in my head. I have created ten new business ideas, written four novels and decided to adopt three sibling children from Australia (oh, imagine their precious accents–and three of them!)


Regardless of the craziness of triathlon and no matter the distance… I continue to fall in love with this sport (on again, off again sometimes) for all its wonderful benefits.  I love the pain, the sweat, the suffering–the sounds and everything that a good workout stands for–and everything a bad one teaches.

We all “tri” for our own reasons, but I know that for me each new challenge (no matter how big or small) is one of the main things that keeps me going.

Happy Hump Snow Day!

(It’s the South, ya’ll!)



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  • Amy

    February 25, 2015 at 7:19 pm

    helloooooo! I’m racing Ironman Lake Placid too. Then because I’m also a little nutty I have Ironman Florida in November. So I have a couple extra weeks in between but yup they are close.

    Happy training!

  • Sarah F

    February 25, 2015 at 8:32 pm

    I am giddy with excitement that you are doing IMLP. It is such a fantastic course it’s an amazing town with a wonderful home town feel. Don’t get me wrong it’s challenging, but very doable if you train for it. I can’t wait to be out there and cheer cheer cheer. It’s my favorite race every single year and I can’t wait to support you and many other of the tri fecta ladies through it. And who knows, maybe I’ll find myself in line for the 2016 sign up… again! (there’s just something about that olympic oval finish!)

  • Cynthia @ You Signed Up For WHAT?!

    February 25, 2015 at 10:22 pm

    I love this post so much! I’m excited for your two-Ironman season. And here I can’t even coordinate my schedule and life to do one. I love what you say about the Olympic being long and it’s hard to pace yourself – I am going to work on doing really well pacing myself in an Oly this fall, it’s a goal of mine.

  • Monique

    February 25, 2015 at 10:52 pm

    I am doing cda im this year. This is a huge scary for me because I’ve only ever done a Sprint length tri and a half marathon. Any special tips, things I should focus on in my training?

  • laura

    February 25, 2015 at 11:28 pm

    Last year we volunteered at IMLP. (Funny story that…involving a trip that we thought was 5 hours until GPS said it was 8! Arrived in the middle of the night to put up a tent in pitch black only to find out we had no tent stakes. Poured during the swim which was cut short by lightning…the list goes on!!) Hubby wanted to do it…then he didn’t. So I signed up for IMMD. No time like the present!

  • Fiona Thomas

    February 26, 2015 at 6:08 am

    Love this post.
    Resonates with me, not because I have two Ironman races coming up (I don’t), but more because I am one of those Aussies with the ‘precious accent’ 🙂

  • Cristina

    February 26, 2015 at 7:04 am

    I’m starting to think we live parallel existences. I am getting out of my funk and totally thrilled about a late entry into IMLP. I stop there though …. no second IM for me. Good luck and happy training 🙂

  • Maria

    February 28, 2015 at 11:48 am

    OH. MY. GOSH. I’m doing IMLP too. Exact same emotions..excitement and then scared stiffless. (Actually I’d substitute a four letter word there) I have four little peeps and have to hide the NY Super Fudge Chunk for my closet moments. So glad I found you and my people. Thank you, thank you!!!!

  • RunningOnEmpty

    March 3, 2015 at 11:41 am

    If I don’t have something that actively scares me on the calendar I get pretty lazy, so chasing this Ironman thing has kept me pretty motivated for an unreasonably extended time now. The Big Scary is pretty cool that way.

    Also, look how skinny you’re getting! Isn’t The Expert feeding you?

    🙂 🙂

  • liz stout

    March 3, 2015 at 9:25 pm

    oh my!! I am so so excited that you are doing the lake placid ironman race! You CAN DO IT!!!! I know it.. you are my number one role model for guiding me into doing the triathlon. I read your book last year and I knew I could give it a shot. Look at me now. Im doing my second half marathon race next month and four triathlons this summer ( 3 sprints and one olympic). I want to see how I feel after I do my first olympic then maybe I will aim for the half ironman. I always tell people about your book. You are the BEST!!!! Please keep it coming!! Love you!!

  • Lee@tri*inspired*life

    March 6, 2015 at 2:02 pm

    i did IMLP last year as my first IM. It is such a great race and an awesome town. They totally embrace the race AND the racers in a very special way. My hat goes off to you for having a 2 IM season. Way to sets your sights high and go for it!!


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